JUST a year ago Nicholas Robinson was a happy, healthy little boy but today the three-year-old cannot walk, talk, or even hug his mum.
Tot Nicholas is believed to be suffering from the rare Alpers' disease, which essentially means that his brain is slowly dying.
There is no cure for the condition and his family can only sit back and watch their "gorgeous, beautiful little boy" deteriorate into what they compare to a newborn baby.
Nicholas was born at Queen's Park Hospital and weighed in at 7lbs 3oz. A little over 12 months ago he was perfectly healthy and would enjoy running around chasing pigeons and playing in the park like any other toddler.
But, one morning his mum Stefanie, 25, went to check him while he slept at their Beech Street home in Great Harwood, which they share with Stefanie's parents Sandra and John and 22-year-old brother Andrew.
Nicholas was found hunched over, struggling to breathe and turning blue. He was rushed to hospital and on arrival started to have seizures and he stopped breathing.
Nicholas' grandmother Sandra, 48, said: "He was critically ill at this stage. It was like being in the twilight zone. The pain in that room was unbelievable, families crying, racing around, human suffering. Some children died that week, we have graphic images ingrained in our minds and they will never go away."
Initially, it was thought Nicholas had meningitis but it became apparent that the diagnosis was incorrect and he was transferred to Pendlebury Hospital to undergo tests where experts diagnosed Alpers'.
He spent Christmas Day in hospital but was moved to Queen's Park and was finally allowed home in March. The family say they cannot praise hospital staff and the Rainbow Trust enough for the first class care and support.
Sandra said: "We went to the hospital on Christmas Eve and there was just a window where we seemed to get a glimpse of Nick as he used to be and the little boy that we used to have.
"In January he spoke a word and the nurses heard him, we thought he was going to get better."
Nicholas now has a feeding tube into his stomach and needs 24-hour care. He cannot speak, sit up, walk or crawl.
Sandra added: "Our lives will never be the same again. How can they be? We do consider ourselves to be lucky because we had Nicholas for two years before this happened. Usually this condition presents itself at eight months but we had him longer than that.
"He is a beautiful child and we have such precious memories of all the wonderful things he did. Nicholas had enthusiasm for every leaf, every puddle, he would have a crowd around him while he chased pigeons, laughing and singing. He has touched so many people's lives and he continues to do that."
Although it is unclear what the future holds for Nicholas, the Robinson family are keen to share their story to encourage other families to be positive about the future.
Sandra added: "Most people give up when they are in a similar situation but we hope our story will give hope and remind people that life is precious. If we can do that then it will be fantastic."